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Refugnic's avatar

Literature Text

At a campfire in the middle of the night, a few of the survivors had gathered under the watchful eyes of the remaining military forces.

For the longest time, everything was silent except for the crackling fire and the nervous breathing of all those, who had lost everything when the world had one day decided to turn upside down. Everybody's eyes darted around, expecting one of the monstrosities to break through the makeshift perimeter the soldiers had built to protect them until a little girl suddenly began crying, alerting everyone around her.

The woman that accompanied her picked her up and said, "'s going to be alright..."
"But I want my mommy! And...and I want to go home! Daddy must be home by now! He must be worried! He must be looking for me. Why can't we go home, aunt Terra?"
The woman tried to explain, "We can't, dear. It's just...just not safe." as tears streamed down her face and if one had listened carefully, they might have heard a few hearts break at this little girl's outburst.

Yet they were all the same and everyone of them knew it. They had all lost people important to them when the earth tore open and the hell spawn crawled out of their crevices.
An elderly man snapped, "Get the child to shut up or do you want them to find us?!"
A younger woman asked, "She's just a child, old man. How about you pipe down?"
"It's over...all over..." another young woman muttered, burying her face in her hands as the horrors of the past few hours replayed in her head.

A young man in uniform stepped to the small group at the fire, sat down and started, " name is Lucius, from the 53rd infantry division, Fort Redford. We're kinda your hosts for the night..."
"And what's the military planning to do about these beasts? I emptied a load of my shotgun straight into the face of one of them and all it did was make it sneeze!" the old man asked, his ears twitching nervously.
Lucius sighed, "Yeah, we kinda noticed that bullets aren't doing much...right now, all we can do is distraction maneuvers and run. But don't worry, our brightest minds are working on a solution as we speak."
The young woman looked up from her hands and asked, "And...and are there any news yet?"
"...afraid not. The last attack busted the radio, but I know a few contingency plans for invasions and trust me when I say, that we aren't going to just sit by idly while these...these things are doing as they please."

Solemn silence returned to the group, as they realized what Lucius was trying to sugarcoat. No plan had ever been made for an invasion of this kind. And without any way to communicate, there was no way the cavalry would find them or for them to find any sort of reinforcement. If they began wandering blindly, all they would find was death.

After a while, the young woman asked, "Excuse me...but why haven't you repaired it?"
"Feh, they probably dumped it when it broke. Broken equipment never has done anyone any good."
Lucius shook his head and explained, "You are wrong, Mr..."
"Sorensen. Hans Sorensen."
"Mr. Sorensen, have you ever served in the army? Ever been behind enemy lines?"
"...can't say I have. Why?"
"Because, Mr. Sorensen, such a thing as 'useless equipment' doesn't exist. It can be salvaged, made into something new or, if failing any other function, you can still throw it to use as distraction. Unfortunately we got separated from the guys from the engineer corps when all hell broke loose."

The young woman got up, brushed the dust off her clothes and proclaimed, "I'd like to see it."
"No offense Miss..."
"Please, call me Sofia. Please...really, can it hurt? I...I just need something to do."
Lucius nodded, got up and left the group.
"Do you think you can repair the radio?" another woman asked.
"I...I really don't know. It depends on the damage and if I can get the spare parts I need...but there's no harm in trying."

A few minutes later, Lucius returned with a military radio rucksack and placed it in front of Sofia, wishing her the best of luck.

Sofia walked over to her sparse belongings and fetched an old belt filled to the brim with various tools, explaining as she blushed slightly, "This belt belonged to my dad. He gave it to me when I went to the university."
Lucius sat himself next to Sofia and watched interested as Sofia carefully dissected the radio.

After checking the damage, she asked, "Okay, the it's not that bad. The circuitry seems to be largely intact...a few smoldered wires over here, but I can bridge those. seems like the transmitter is a goner and the antenna has seen better days too..."
Sofia scratched her head, as she made a list of things she would need to fix this in her head and how she could replace them without having access to the proper spare parts.

After a while, she asked around, "Say, does anyone of you have earrings?"
Terra gently laid the now sleeping girl down, pulled a small stick from her ear and asked, "Will this work?"
Sofia took it and replied, "Yes, this is if I attach this...ouch!"
After recovering from the immediate shock, Sofia knocked herself against the head and severed the device from its power source and admitted, "Sorry, I keep forgetting that."

Sofia kept on working on the radio, occasionally asking her growing audience for everyday things to replace important parts of the radio.
Eventually, Lucius asked, "You really look like you know what you're doing...are you an engineer?"
"I was studying to be one," Sofia replied without looking up.
" really wouldn't know just by looking at you."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Sofia asked, looking up ever so slightly.

Lucius blushed slightly, "Err, see...well, I only know the guys from the engineer corps and none of 'em were as pretty as you...that's all."
The old man groaned, "Either let the girl do her work or get a tent."
His comment pulled a few nervous, yet heartfelt laughs from the crowd, while Sofia blushed a bright red. She quickly buried herself back in her work to hide it and talked it off as, "Don't say things you don't mean."
"That's a good way to live," the woman cradling the small girl agreed.

"If you don't mind me did you end up here? The next university town isn't exactly around the corner..."
"I...was visiting friends," Sofia replied, her tail twitching ever so slightly as she remembered the events of a few hours ago, bringing tears to the corner of her eye.

She blinked them away and buried herself even deeper in her work and while the others started to have conversations about how they ended up where they were now, Sofia seemingly didn't even listen. She just kept on working silently, as if she wasn't a part of the world surrounding her to begin with.

After about 30 minutes, Sofia reconnected the power source and turned the switch to 'On'.
When the noise of static emerged from the battered speakers, every conversation died instantly and all eyes came to rest on Sofia, who carefully turned the frequency knob.
"Try 153.43 MHz" one of the soldiers suggested.
Sofia nodded and turned the knob to the frequency, however nothing but static came through.
"Damn...that was the emergency channel..." the soldier muttered, clenching his fist.
"Hold on..." Sofia said, looking around.
She then stood up and laid one hand on the antenna and raised the other one into the sky and indeed, even though it was the slightest of noises, a faint voice could be heard over the static.

She asked, "Could someone adjust the knob please?"
Lucius, who had been staring at her in awe, quickly bowed down and carefully turned the knob, until the voice could be clearly understood and the static had been reduced to a minimum. It was military radio chatter, seemingly coordinating movements.
Lucius grabbed the microphone and shouted, "This is Lt. Lucius Gray, from the 53rd infantry division, Fort Redford! Do you copy?!"

Endless seconds passed where nothing but static could be heard until another voice replied, "This is Sgt. Kasper Barrington, 51st infantry division, also Fort Redford. What's your status, Lt.?"
"Alive. I've got twenty survivors at...PFC, what's our damn position?!"
The addressed soldier startled, pulled out a GPS tracker and showed it to Lucius, who read the coordinates to Kasper.

"...alright, that's nearby. Once the sun is up, move 5 miles northeast to location..."
The remainder got cut off by static again, as Sofia had to sneeze, her own hair tickling her in her nose.
"Please repeat!" Lucius demanded, after Sofia had apologized a hundred times.
Kasper repeated the coordinates and another soldier jotted them down.
"Alright...see you at noon then," Lucius said before turning the radio off, nodding over to Sofia who finally relaxed and sunk back down to the ground.

Suddenly however, the old man who had done nothing but bicker up to now got up and started applauding her and others quickly joined in. Some even cheered as the news that they not only had a working radio again, but also a destination to head to.

The veil of depression that had kept everybody's spirit down until then had dissipated and complete strangers started hugging each other.
Many patted on Sofia's back, who was just staring on the ground, until Lucius lead her a little bit away from the group.
"I'm sorry about all that. But you know, that's how people are...for them you are a hero."
Sofia mumbled, "Really, that was nothing...I just repaired a stupid radio."
"No, that was awesome! You didn't just 'repair a stupid radio', you gave these people hope that there is a tomorrow! Something all soldiers in the world could not have done right now, yet you did it."
"S-Stop praising me so much..." Sofia fidgeted.
"Oh? You don't like being praised?"
"I...I just want to be left alone...that...that's all," Sofia replied, blushing heavily.
Lucius sat down on a nearby tree stump and asked her, "Say...I've heard a number of 'how people ended up here', but personally I'd be really interested in your story. You don't have to tell me if it's too painful, but I'd like to know."

Sofia shook her head and leaned against another tree and said, "It's...not so interesting...I was just visiting a few of my old friends back home during semester break."
"Ah did mention that you are studying, didn't you?"
"Yes, I'm studying electrical engineering...I...I know, that's weird for a girl and everything, but...but I like it and it makes me happy tinkering with machines and..."
"And I'm not one to judge, really. you originally come from these parts?"
"Yes...from a rural town, not too far from friends dragged me out to the city for shopping. Apparently they thought I'd 'never get a boyfriend, if I dress like a potato sack'."
Lucius had a hard time suppressing a laugh, causing Sofia to blush again and look away.
"No, no, I'm sorry, really, I am. I just can't imagine someone as pretty as you not having a boyfriend."
"...don't say things you don't mean..." Sofia repeated.
Lucius got up and lifted Sofia's head so he could look her into her eyes properly, causing Sofia to fidget uncomfortably, her tail wagging at the unwanted attention as he said, "I don't."

Lucius leaned in to a kiss, when Sofia's mind went blank.
She shoved Lucius away, yelling, "Don't!"
Lucius stumbled backwards, almost falling down.
He yanked up his hands in defense, repeating how sorry he was, as Sofia just kept staring at him incredulously, her ears and tail twitching as a thousand thoughts ran through her head.

Eventually Lucius said, "I'm really, really sorry. I shouldn't have assumed. It was just...okay, let's pretend this never happened, I'll go back to my post and tomorrow at dawn I'll take you to camp like the professional I am supposed to be."

Lucius was just about to turn around and leave, when he felt a light tug on his arm.
Surprised he turned around and looked into pleading eyes as Sofia stuttered, "...please...d-don't leave me...alone..."
Lucius clenched his teeth, swallowing down the cocktail of emotions coursing through his body at the sight, took a deep breath, put up his best smile and then said, "Don't worry. Me and the other guys over there are all here to protect you. All of you. And even if it kills me, I won't let those bastards lay a single finger on you. But now you should go back to the group and try to get some sleep. Tomorrow will be a busy day."

Lucius lead the still terrified Sofia back to the group, where she was welcomed warmly, but instead of bathing in the glory, she simply walked over to her tent and disappeared in it.

One of the other soldiers walked up to Lucius and asked, "Sir, do I need to remind you, that no civilian must take priority over the group? Not even your girlfriend."
Lucius looked at the soldier sadly and replied, "Maybe in another life, Private."

When the morning came, Lucius lead the group towards the designated coordinates, shooting only a single look into Sofia's direction, who was just looking at the ground.

As they got moving, he muttered, "If only I had met you in another life..."
"Pardon, Sir?"
"Nothing. Let's get moving, time's a wasting!" he proclaimed and walked forward briskly, not looking back at Sofia even once more.
One has a hard time believing in chance when things like that happen.
I entered the search term 'AMV' into YouTube and clicked the first thing that came up and had it basically run on random while writing this.

Pretty much in the beginning, where Sofia is properly introduced at first, this song came up and I actually had to stop and check, because it just fit the mood and situation.
And when I was done, this one came up, making for a perfect finish. At least for me.

I was fearing that I had gotten myself stuck in a writing block, because I couldn't think of something to write all day, but I'm actually fairly content with this one. Okay, Sofia's character is probably portrayed dead wrong, but I think I like this one...oh and if :iconnimportant: would tell me Kasper's rank, I could stop guessing around so wildly with stuff like that. :XD:

Thanks for reading, and please check out Replay when you find the time.
It's worth it. :)

As always, comments are highly appreciated and will be responded to ASAP. :)

And a few numbers for the geeks among us: 2297 words with a total of 13130 characters make this short story about a little longer than chapter length, but still fairly short compared to what else I have in my gallery for 'short' stories. ;)
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NImportant's avatar
That's a very nice story but, as you had feared, it has little to do with Sofia from my Replay haha :XD: You really should have waited a bit! Right now it kind of felt like reading a story about some other girl with the same name ^^;
Well, thank you nevertheless, I like how you showed the mood at the campfire - at first not even child was permitted to make a noise but when some hope appeared everyone started to cheer, regardless of the danger. And I like Lucius, he is a cutie.